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November 2010 Archives

Understand your employee rights

On both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, I overheard conversations of people discussing problems at work and the legal solutions.In the first case, following religious services, I heard some congregants asking a personal injury lawyer about employee rights. In that situation, an individual got hurt at work and filed a worker's comp claim. Now, he fears he is going to get fired. Many such employees, however, could be protected by the ADA, prohibiting discrimination against disabled employees. Also, some states make it illegal to discriminate against an employee for filing a worker's comp claim. And, lastly, the Family Medical Leave act may provide some protection. In the other case, I overheard workers at a clothing store talking about unfair treatment by the employer and what they could do about it. Unfortunately, unless there is a union contract or other contract, employees generally don't have many rights other than to not be discriminated against based on their age, race, sex, national origin, religion or medical condition. If they feel they are being treated poorly for one of these reasons, then they could have a legal claim. In conclusion, in these recessionary times, it is important for workers to understand what rights they do, and do not, have.________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

Coane & Associates immigration case in San Francisco

Tomorrow, I will be arguing an immigration case at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco. This case involves an individual from Nigeria who married a US citizen. He was given a green card based on his marriage, but about 2 years later, the immigration service canceled his status, claiming they approved it by mistake. In particular, they said that since they never approved his wife's visa petition, they couldn't lawfully approve his adjustment of status to green card. As it turns out, the law says that if a green card is approved by mistake, it's as if the person never had a green card. The government then prosecuted my client and he was ordered deported, even though he has been in the United States for 19 years and has 2 US citizen children. At tomorrow's appellate argument, the 9th Circuit will decide whether to overturn the deportation order and allow my client to apply for certain waivers, to allow him to stay here. The lesson to be learned from this case is that there is no statute of limitations prohibiting the government from taking away a person's green card for reasons of mistake, or fraud, or anything else that they can articulate.________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

H-4 Visa explained

An H-4 visa is a visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders. An H4 Visa allows the spouse or child of an H-1B Visa holder to live and study in the United States. USCIS allows immediate family members of H visa holders (H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) to get H-4 visas to lawfully come and stay in the US. These visas are usually issued at the local US consulate office abroad. However, if the person is already in US, he or she can obtain H-4 visa by filing Form I-539 for change of status.H-4 visa holders are not eligible to get a Social Security Number and cannot be employed, but they can hold a driver's license, open bank accounts, and get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for US tax purposes.Family members may alternatively be admitted in other non-immigrant categories for which they qualify, such as the F-1 category for children or spouses who will be students or the H-1B category for a spouse whose employer has also obtained approval of an H-1B visa petition to employ the spouse. An H-4 visa holder is admitted to the US for the duration of the primary (H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) visa validity.Since H-4 visa holders are not issued a social security number, an ITIN (Individual tax identification number) should be obtained before filing for joint tax returns by filing Form W-7. They are not authorized to work in the United States, though they are allowed to study. Did you know that a child's H-4 Visa status automatically expires when the child turns 21? Even if the U.S. government mistakenly gives you an expiration date that is past the child's birthday, your child will be out of status if he or she remains in the U.S. after turning 21.What can you do to prevent your child from becoming out of status? The most important thing you can do is plan ahead. There are ways for your child to obtain a different visa and change status. For example, your child might be able to enroll in school and receive an F-1 student visa. You should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer at least one year before your child turns 21 to determine how he or she can legally remain in the United States. ________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

NFAP suggests Entrepreneur Visa program

A new report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) urges Congress to establish an entrepreneur visa program to foster job creation. The entrepreneur visa would allocate 10,000 visas per year to foreign citizens allowing them conditional residency in the U.S. The intending immigrant would be required to present a business plan to be evaluated by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Conditional status would be removed and a green card awarded after two years if the individual satisfied the terms of the visa by creating three or more non-relative U.S. workers. The proposed entrepreneur visa program is separate from the EB-5 investor visa. The current investor immigrant visa program requires a capital investment of $500,000 or more and is out of reach for most prospective immigrants. There is no minimum capital requirement specified in the entrepreneur visa program. Check out the press release from the NFAP website: http://www.nfap.com/pressreleases/NFAP092010.pdf ________________________________________________________________________________________________Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or his website at Coane and Associates.

Can you bring your foreign fiancé to the US for marriage?

Congratulations --- You are newly engaged and planning to bring your foreign fiancé to the United States for marriage. You've done some research, and you downloaded the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. You’ve done your Internet research: Wikipedia, free online resources, case law, advice from friends and family, and the list goes on. You may be thinking, "This looks easy, maybe I should just do it myself. It will save me money". Sure you can do it yourself and save money, but you do really understand the complex process? On paper it looks simple, but wait, the buck stops here.There are many compelling reasons to hire an immigration lawyer to handle your fiancé visa. Here are the top 5:1. Immigration Lawyers Know the LawU.S. Immigration law is complicated, even for some lawyers. Also, the rules are constantly changing, and it helps to have someone who is up to date on the latest laws and statutes.2. An Immigration Lawyer Can Represent YouOnly a licensed lawyer can represent you before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (where the fiancé visa petition is filed), the National Visa Center (where the name checks are conducted) or at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate (where your fiancé will be interviewed and the K-1 visa will be issued). 3. An Immigration Lawyer Get Things Done FasterIf you choose to prepare your own fiancé visa petition, you will quickly realize there are a number of forms required. You may have to stop frequently to do more research. An experienced immigration lawyer will prepare your fiancé visa petition quickly and correctly.4. An Immigration Lawyer Can Prevent Costly MistakesThere are multiple rules regarding your fiancé’s ability to travel to the United States during the fiancé visa process. For example, if your fiancé is issued a K-1 visa, they must use it to enter the U.S. and not any other visa and you must marry within a specified period of time. Mistakes in this regard can result in you having to start the fiancé visa process all over again (including paying the fees) or your fiancé being unable to remain in the U.S.5. An Immigration Lawyer Can Prevent Lengthy DelaysOut of all the reasons for hiring an immigration lawyer, this is the most compelling for many engaged couples. According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, approximately 40 to 60% of all fiancé visa petitions filed every year are not approved. Thus, an experienced, knowledgeable immigration lawyer can prevent any lengthy delays and give you peace of mind.If the USCIS finds some technical mistake or omission in the paperwork you submitted to them, they will send you a formal letter (also known as a Request for Evidence or RFE) telling you what you did wrong. This form will often be sent several months after you originally filed your petition. Often, when you submit the required correction, they will again wait several months and again return the forms to you with another cover-sheet informing you of a second technical error or omission. Even writing N/A in a box can result in an RFE. Each RFE may add about six more months to the process. Call us at Coane & Associates at 713-850-0066 (Houston) or 305-538-6800 (Miami) today for a consultation with one of our experienced immigration lawyers. Also, visit us on the web at http://www.coane.com.

Green Cards come faster for spouses and unmarried children of Green Card Holders

There has always been an immigration quota for spouses and unmarried children of green card holders, to immigrate to the USA. That quota typically took 3-7 years before being able to get a green card, thereby keeping many families separated from one another.Just recently,in the late-summer of 2010, that green card quota has surged ahead so that instead of waiting 3-7 years, these individuals only need to wait about 5 months. In past years, the spouse of a green card holder would not even have a case filed, rather they would wait five years until the green card holding spouse became a USA citizen, before filing a case. That strategy no longer makes sense with a quota that takes only 5 months. As a result, our office has been filing many of these "2a preference cases," in order to allow families to legally immigrate and be together again.The green card sponsor, such as the parent sponsoring unmarried children, does not even need to be in the USA to file the case. The entire visa petition process is all done by mail.

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